Are you a jerk?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this article, No More Working For Jerks, since I read it back in January. 

My basic take-away is that there has been a shift between folks feeling an undying loyalty to an employer, even the jerks, to a realization that working for a jerk is just not worth it. 

Luckily for me, I have had a very few experiences working for jerks. Perhaps the few experiences I have had, incredulously, shaped me as a manager in positive ways. First, I could not ever imagine treating someone, anyone, like my old boss treated me. Perhaps I don’t have it in me to be a jerk. 

The sudden shift to working almost exclusively remotely has prompted me to do what I’ve come to think of as an “empathy check”. When I am working fast or a million things are on my plate, I have a tendency to shoot off quick responses to messages. I came to realize that a punctuation-less response of “sure”, even if it really was a “Sure!”, could be read as if I was not enthusiastic, only giving it a passing thought, or, worse, didn’t care. Now, I don’t know about you, but in these last few years, I have worked more and more with people I have never met face-to-face. If you’ve met me face-to-face, you know that I almost always mean “SURE!!!!” So, my empathy check can go a long way. 

Similarly, I almost never pop a context-less meeting on someone’s calendar. The exception has often been that I am trying to pull off a surprise virtual birthday party, but that is an aside. I would never want my team to think that I am stewing on something. I would never want someone to be blindsided coming into a meeting with me when something is wrong. And, finally, I would never want a team member to start stewing while wondering what the meeting is about. 

How have your management practices changed over the last few years? If you’d like to meet for some coaching sessions or could use some advice around a particular challenge, please reach out! Similarly, if you’d like to bring leadership and management training to your team, let’s talk!